“Hola’,” the aging lawman said, touching the brim of his cowboy hat, as he drove by. He didn’t recognized the Mexican woman, nor should he have as the last time he’d seen her was nearly three-decades before in the dark of night and not in the bright of the day.
She slowly turned in her saddle, looking back at the single-horse surrey and the tall lanky man exiting the rig. She watched as he turned his back to her and began to urinate along the side of the cattle trail.
It would be his last act of life as two shots, rapidly fired in succession, echoed across the open expanse of New Mexican desert near the village of Las Cruces. Having seen the man topple face down into the puddle of his own piss, the Mexican woman turned back, spurring her horse on to a quicker pace, riding from sight.
By the time the general alarm sounded and a posse formed, the Mexican woman had found her way back into town and quietly sat in the rear passenger car of the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad bound northeast towards home. It would be the last time she would visit Las Cruces.
Though Paulita Jaramillo didn’t follow the events as reported in the ‘Fort Sumner Review,’ she did hear from friends and relatives of how someone had murdered Pat Garrett in broad daylight. She listened with rapt attention to every detail, knowing that the Gringo lawmen were literally searching for the wrong man.
They’d forgotten the woman, once a 16-year-old girl with the last name of Maxwell, raised on a ranch in Mora, New Mexico and later the wife of a prosperous sheep rancher, who knew all to well how to shoot a Winchester, killing vermin that threatened the herd. She also swore revenge the morning after her brother Pedro’s ranch was used as a killing ground, the place where William Bonney lost his life.
“Dormir bien mi querido Billy,” Paulita often said while thinking back on her unknown deed and a promise kept.
My wife dragged me to the art gallery to view a traveling Reuben exhibit. I tried to avoid going, but no luck.
“We need some culture in our lives.”
However, she didn’t anticipate looking at painting after painting of curvaceous ladies in the buff. She complained, saying it was unfair that all the nude paintings depicted women.
So jokingly I pointed to an arrow on the wall that read, ‘Men.’ She smiled and hurried off in that direction.
“Honey!” I called out, but I was too slow. Seconds later she found herself standing before the door to the men’s room.
Hawkins broke through the sliding glass door at the back of the old Shipley house, jimmying the plastic frame with a flat-bar and poured gasoline throughout all the rooms, including the garage. He lit a match, threw it and watched the flames flash-over in a single hungry gulp and with a thump that violently reverberated through his entire body.
It felt like ‘pure sex’ to him and it left Hawkins in a euphoric-state of arousal.
He’d been eyeing the place for nearly three-years. The Great Recession had stuck with a fierceness that left many homes vacant, unwanted and ripe for destruction including this one.
In the case of the Shipley house, it caught the ‘double-whammy.’ First the recession brought prices crashing, then Marilyn, already in bad health, died, leaving her home to her daughter, who could do very little with the place amid her own financial struggles.
As the giant dragon threatened to belch and take Hawkins with it, he turned to escape, only to notice a painting of a boy over the faux-mantel. From the boy’s cheerful grin, Hawkins saw that it was clear that the child, whoever he was, had been happy at one time.
The framed-figure reminded him of someone he knew but whom Hawkins could no longer remember. So with the flames building up ever greater behind him, consuming the walls, floors and ceiling, he yanked the boy from the wall and ran with him out the back door.
With the painting propped against the wall behind his front door, Hawkins watched from the safety of his front room’s window as the Shipley place burned to the ground. The torching was so complete, that not even the local fire department could save the structure and instead let it burn, opting to protect the neighboring homes from becoming ash-heaps like it.
And as the house fell in on itself, the painted boy whispered to his savior, “Thank you, I was so lonely.”
For his part, Hawkins smiled, he finally had somebody to talk to.
She found me in the back alley, where I was drowning in affordable rot-gut. She was young, pretty and I tried to ignore her, until she sat down beside me.
“I can guess when you’re going to die,” she offered.
Too wasted to realize she was serious, I laughed at the thought and wondered what sort of scam she was running. Tipping the brown bag up, I took a long draw from the bottle inside.
There was no pain when she drew her knife’s blade across my bare throat. In fact, I didn’t feel a thing but my warm blood.
“Data suggests that it’s over a million years old and has no functional ability.”
“So shattered bits of red carbon-based material is simply floating through the cosmos for no reason?”
“It appears so, ma’am.”
“But why would you say it’s a religious relic?”
“We know sacrifice is a part of the early belief system. The sacrifice of beings in the name of religion happened for thousands of years. And because of this, a few have even argued that the mummified remains…”
“Major Tom, you mean?”
“Yes, ma’am, Major Tom is – or was – a sacrifice to a god named ‘T.’ This is known from the cross-like symbol on the what remains of the crafts forward compartment found amid the debris and this unusual vocalization. Let me play it for you.”
“…Ground Control to Major Tom, take your protein pills and put your helmet on…”
“Furthermore, we’ve learned their golden rule was ‘Don’t Panic.’”
“Then what is the ‘Foundation,’ and what or who is this Issac Asimov?”
“Current theory holds that Asimov is a Prophet and that his mathematically based writings are the underpinnings of this religion, thus ‘Foundation.’
“And so, is ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ and Adam Douglas more teachings of yet another Prophet?
“We believe it maybe supplemental to the original teachings, ma’am, but we’re still analyzing it, and it’s going to take some time due to the fragile nature of the material it’s made from.”
“What about the plaque?”
“A very interesting artifact, indeed. It reads, “Made on Earth by humans.”
“So this space debris or whatever it was – or is – was made by us?”
“Yes, ma’am. And that leaves us with even bigger questions to answer.”
“What’s an Earth, can we find it and is ‘T’ still there?’”
“So damn close to Crescent City, I can almost smell it,” I whined as I stood in the parking lot of the Collier Tunnel rest area. It had been a long journey to here, especially since I was using the least reliable method of transportation available – hitching.
The driver pulled off Highway 199 because I needed to take a crap. “I’ll be quick about it,” I said as I climbed from the passenger seat.
Once finished, I returned to where car I’d been riding in had parked, it was gone. He had left me.
“Asshole!” I screeched.
Stranded, I walked out to the highway and tossed out my thumb hoping to catch another ride. Hour one passed along with at least 200 vehicles — and soon I was nearing the end of hour two.
Looking south through the long tunnel, it did not seem inviting. I hated the idea of having to walk it’s length, but the desire to get home one more time was quickly overriding my sense of caution.
As I stood there contemplating the tunnels entrance, I heard a car’s horn from somewhere behind me. I turned and saw a large-finned 1959 candy-apple red Cadillac pull into the nearby parking lot and the driver’s side passenger door popped open.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” is blasting from the interior. Barely audible over the music, “Hurry! We don’t have all day – in fact we’re already late,” a voice called out to me, adding “Quick, get in!”
Touching the pistol I had secreted in my jacket pocket, I hopped the barrier from the roadway into the parking lot and ran to the car. The tinted windows were darker than what the law allowed so I couldn’t see who was in the front seat, but I could see the cute little blonde in a light blue dress and white pinafore in the backseat, patting it, will me to sit down next to her.
Once inside, the door slammed shut and the driver wheeled the beast of a car around and peeled rubber as he raced out of the parking lot. Gathering my balance, I was finally able to sit up and find the seat belt and as I looked around I couldn’t help but notice the passenger and his odd-looking top hat and severely over-sized bucked-teeth.
That’s when I looked at the driver, who was much too short to safely see over the dash of the vehicle, and saw only a pair of long ears. “Oh, my God,” I thought. “The energizer bunny is driving this thing.”
Yes, it was a rabbit, but instead of being pink, it was pure white, it’s also the moment I discovered that we had entered a rabbit hole. In the darkness of the hole and safety of back seat, the blonde slid close to me.
She took my hand in her hand and placed it gently on her left breast, whispering to me to feel her firmness and eventually her wetness. Instantly, I grew butterflies in my stomach and a hardness in my pants knowing that she wanted me to fuck her brains out.
“Oh, yes,” I smiled like a Cheshire as I penetrated her depth, “All mimsy were the borogoves!”
Payment, I suppose, because as I learned later, there was a Jabberwocky needing slain and I was to be her champion. For now, home would have to wait.